At Stevens, Carnegie Corp. award for president comes with $500K grant

Stevens Institute of Technology President Nariman Farvardin was one of seven college and university presidents selected by Carnegie Corp. of New York to receive the 2017 Academic Leadership Award, in recognition of exceptional leadership in higher education, the corporation announced.

The award was established in 2005 to reflect the conviction of Andrew Carnegie that education and knowledge are fundamental tools for strengthening democracy and creating a more vibrant civil society, according to the corporation.

The award is granted biannually to a select number of educators who “demonstrate vision and an outstanding commitment to excellence in undergraduate education, the liberal arts, equal opportunity, the development of major interdisciplinary programs, international engagement and the promotion of strong ties between their institutions and their local communities,” the corporation said.

The award includes a $500,000 grant to each honoree’s institution. Stevens said the money will help fund academic initiatives.

Farvardin has been leading academic initiatives since he came to the school in 2011, spearheading a 10-year strategic plan called “The Future. Ours to Create.”

Since then, applications to the school have increased by more than 100 percent, while enrollment is up more than 28 percent.

The school recently was ranked No. 69 on the list of national universities by U.S. News & World Report, the third-highest ranking of schools based in the state and 19 spots higher than when Farvardin took over.

In honoring Farvardin, the Carnegie Corp. cited a number of institutional accomplishments, among them that he and Stevens:

  • Invested in faculty members, support services for students, new academic and research facilities and new classroom technology;
  • Emphasized experiential learning opportunities as a way for students to connect their education to work in their chosen fields;
  • Facilitated a 365 percent increase in students participating in international programs;
  • Oversaw increased applications and improved retention and graduation rates.

Virginia P. Ruesterholz, chairman of the board of trustees at Stevens, said the honor is well deserved.

“Since Dr. Farvardin’s arrival a little over six years ago, Stevens has advanced on all fronts,” Ruesterholtz said. “We have become a first-choice university for talented students and faculty as we pursue our goal of being a premier, student-centric technological research university. Recognition of Dr. Farvardin as an outstanding leader casts a bright light on our university.”

Farvardin and Stevens join a select list of honorees.

This year’s list includes leaders from Northeastern (Joseph Aoun), Georgetown (John  DeGioia), Harvey Mudd (Maria Klawe), Case Western Reserve (Barbara R. Snyder), Georgia State (Mark Becker) and Montgomery College (DeRionne Pollard).

Past recipients have included the presidents of Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, Duke, USC, Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania.

Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corp. of New York, said the honorees are selected from a large pool of applicants.

“There are more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States, which play a fundamental role in educating the next generation of our workforce, leaders and citizens. Our higher education institutions are central to the future of our nation,” he said.

“Andrew Carnegie believed in the importance of strong, dedicated and effective higher education leaders. As custodians of Mr. Carnegie’s legacy, it is our honor to salute a new class of exemplary leaders, who join with another 20 past award recipients in representing some of the best of the American academy.”